Pack Sensibly for Your Summer Vacation

Summer is the best time of the year to take a long, relaxing trip to see old friends, explore new sights and go to the beach. To make your leisure time even more carefree, remember that a little bit of #organizing can play a substantial role in your relaxation while on vacation.

In other words, it pays to pack sensibly and as light as possible. You probably don’t need all of that #stuff on your trip anyway, and if you forget something, chances are that you’ll be able to buy whatever it is just as easily once you get to your destination.

If you take a plane, most major airlines now charge substantial baggage fees and/or offer special no-frills fares that permit only a small carryon. Depending on the destination, you can often save hundreds of dollars by reducing the amount of stuff you take along.

To keep within airline baggage limits, decide what you’ll need to bring before getting the suitcase out, says Land of the Traveler. Make a list of the essentials — socks, underwear, deodorant, etc. — and set them aside.

Be practical about the clothing you bring. Choose versatile garments that mix and match easily to create new outfits. Stick to a simple color palette and choose items that can be dressed up or down with accessories. Then, lay out what you’ve picked and eliminate half of it.

If you’re aren’t flying, you’ll have more room available and likely more to pack, too. Successful summer road trips have special accoutrements such as coolers full of refreshing beverages, extra chargers, sunscreen, sporting goods and beach gear.

But even on a road trip, packing clothing that does double-duty can pay off, says What to Pack. When the sun goes down or the A/C is full-blast, you’ll need a blanket or hoodie. “In addition, especially for long-haul drives, pillows are crucial,” the blog says.

Whatever mode of travel you choose for your summer vacation, stick to the essentials. There will be less to keep track of, misplace or lose, and as a result, more time to enjoy your leisure time with complete peace of mind.

#Clutter doesn’t only exist in the home; it can follow you wherever you go, complicating the good times with excess stuff. This summer, pack only what you need — and take advantage of all of the freedom that your vacation affords.

Make Your Summer Road Trip Clutter-Free

If you’re like most people, the open road is calling you. Summer is the time to take a road trip, and whether that trip is long or short, to locales familiar or exotic, and with family or friends, your vehicle is likely to attract the clutter and detritus that comes with travel. To avoid it having that lived-in look by the time you return, plan ahead.

First, start with a clean slate. In addition to performing operational maintenance such as checking fluid levels and tire pressure, remove anything you won’t need for the trip from the car. Keep your vehicle registration and proof of insurance handy inside the car, as well as chargers, toll change, tissues or baby wipes, and other necessities.

Now, clean and vacuum the car’s interior thoroughly. Once the car is spotless, get ready for your trip by installing a temporary trash receptacle; a plastic grocery bag is the most likely choice. Hang it from a headrest or put a passenger in charge of collecting cans, wrappers and other items, and empty and or replace the bag at every stop.

Carryalls are a great idea if you’re on a long trip, especially with kids in the car. A bin, basket or hanging organizer can contain backseat essentials such as books, games and sunblock. Professional organizer Bridgette Rappe advises that floorboards are for feet only; things can get lost under seats and broken underfoot easily.

For a family road trip, careful packing is essential, Huffpost says. Encourage kids to pack their own bags to help them “take ownership” of a specific space in the car. Bring a duffel or laundry bag to collect all the dirties. And keep a bin of emergency equipment such as a flashlight and valuables well-hidden in the trunk.

To eat healthy on the road, you’ll need a cooler. Organization also pays inside that small space. Use reusable freezer packs or pre-frozen bottles of water to keep other items cool without taking up extra room, and plastic storage containers to keep foods dry. Arrange items so items can be grabbed quickly without disruption.

The longer the trip, the more lived-in your car may become. But with planning and organization, you can keep the clutter at bay, along with the stress it can bring. And that will make your road trip — and the memories you make while on it — that much better!

Easy Ways to Beat the Heat

With the Fourth of July festivities now complete, the worst of the summer’s heat and humidity still lie ahead for many parts of the country. While a certain amount of swelter and sweat are to be welcomed while you’re on a weekend trip to the ol’ swimming hole, many people still wilt when the temperatures rise, hiding from the heat indoors.

There are simple ways to keep cool even without the benefit of A/C, though. To keep your home cool, HuffPost says, keep the blinds and curtains closed against direct sunlight. In the bedroom, swap out flannel and fleece for lightweight cottons. Grill outside instead of cooking indoors. And be sure to set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.

If your indoor space is still too sultry to sleep, try a few of Greatist’s “hacks” to keep from tossing and turning. Put your sheets in the freezer before bed, or put them on the mattress slightly damp—evaporation will cool the air around your body. Place trays of ice in front of your fans. And apply cold water to your pulse points before you drop off.

Your internal temperature has a big effect on how well you cope with the heat. The metabolic processes behind digestion raise body temperatures, the Daily Mail notes, so eat smaller, lower-protein meals more often. Eating spicy foods encourages sweating, which—while perhaps unsightly if unchecked—cools the body down.

While a frosty adult beverage may be appealing in hot weather, the story notes, alcohol tends to dehydrate, which may make you feel hotter. And no matter how much ice you add, caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and cola actually increase metabolic heat, adding to discomfort. Still and sparkling water are always good options when you’re looking to cool off.

And finally, if you’re taking a road trip and worried about your car’s performance, use a protective window shade to keep the cabin cooler when parked, TripSavvy says. Then, get rid of the built-up hot air by opening the windows; close them again and blast the A/C for a few minutes before adjusting the system to a maintenance level for the long haul.

Whatever you do, don’t let the summer heat ruin your good time. Try a few of these tips and tricks, and you can make the most of the hottest days of the year while barely breaking a sweat.

Road Trip Tips: Keeping the Car Clean

If you’re taking a road trip this summer, Real Simple has a few tips to keep your ride clean. First, start with a clean car; if you wash and vacuum it ahead of the trip, it will set expectations for passengers. Have plenty of cleansing wipes and small bags on hand for in-car cleanup. Set clear rules for rider behavior and perhaps what foodstuffs can be consumed en route, especially for kids. And finally, be sure to clear any trash from the car every time you stop for gas or a bathroom break. Making cleanup a constant can cut the stress!

Smart Summer Packing

Traveling with children requires creativity in packing, says professional organizer Sylvia Daoust. It’s a challenge to have what you need when you need it and still economize on space, so make a packing list for your summer vacation ahead of time to avoid leaving something necessary behind or taking too much. Equipped with a list, children as young as six can pack their own suitcases, but you’ll want to have snacks, music, toys and “screens” on hand to keep them entertained — and especially if you’re traveling by car.